Nigerian Startup Token Remittance Platform Takes On Western Union And Appears to be Winning
According to migration and remittances data from the World Bank, over $600 billion was transferred home by close to 250 million migrants worldwide in 2016. The main recipient locations were Sub-Saharan Africa ($39 billion), India ($69 billion), and Nigeria ($20 billion).
Through traditional remittance companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union, international money transfers are unjustifiably costly, setting senders back give or take $20 for each $200 sent on global remittance fees alone.
With little to no alternatives, the senders had no choice but to pay the high transaction fees, until new startup companies entered the market and aimed to change everything about it using blockchain technology.
SureRemit entered the industry with the kind of mettle that was missing in the market. Incorporated in Mauritius and based in Nigeria, it has rolled out a crypto token with one very specific purpose; allowing immigrants a quick, safe and affordable way to send money to their families still based in their home countries.
Its remittance tokens became available for the first time in a pre-sale which will be active until the public ICO is opened in the second week of January 2018. Powered by blockchain technology and partnered with Stellar, SureRemit is not the first company to opt for a more suitable cryptocurrency than Ethereum.
Indeed, Ethereum is known to be experiencing scaling difficulty of late, coinciding with the release of the popular Cryptokitties application. Furthermore, Stellar is known to be quicker, more cost-effective and more reliable than Ethereum; which may remain the case until the latter’s developers roll out some much-needed technology upgrades.
What sets SureRemit aside from the scores of other cryptocurrencies available in today’s market is that its tokens cannot be redeemed for cash. They exist solely for the purposes of bill payments, online consumer goods, and student tuition, and can only be used at vendors who accept the cryptocurrency token. One of SureRemit’s most prominent payment partners is Jumia, branded as “Nigeria’s No. 1 Online Shopping Mall,” and offering anything from shoes to electronics.
The best part about SureRemit (from a consumer’s perspective) is the lack of a transaction fee. The costs are covered by the retail partners, who redeem tokens for cash minus the percentage commission payable to SureRemit.
According to Samuel-Biyi, co-founder, merchants are more than happy to pay the transaction fees as they see it as a small price to pay in exchange for a large new client base.
Additionally, retailers more easily afford fees than clients, as the majority of senders live in low-income brackets and cannot afford to send their entire salaries back home. In this light, SureRemit is doing a great global community service through their approach of helping those who need it most using their win-win retailer-consumer approach.
As well as all the above, SureRemit has one more (massive) upside. Their tokens are not attractive to cyber-criminals and money launderers due to their characteristic of not being redeemable for cash. This affords it a significantly reduced risk when compared to other cryptocurrencies and other forms of blockchain technology currently available.
The market’s demand for such as service has already been proven, most notably through its predecessor named SureGift; a platform which allows for cashless digital shopping vouchers for enhanced security.